5-year-old girl in suspect’s vehicle during Spring Lake officer-involved shooting


SPRING LAKE, N.C. (WNCN) – A Spring Lake police officer shot a woman who fled a traffic stop and hit the officer with her vehicle Monday night, officials said.

The incident started around 8:40 p.m. in the 800 block of Lillington Highway in Spring Lake, police said.

UPDATE: Husband speaks out after wife shot by Spring Lake officer

The police officer, later identified as Officer Milton Deleon, stopped a car because of careless and reckless driving.

Spring Lake Police Chief Charles Kimble said the vehicle was seen doing doughnuts, or driving in circles at a high rate of speed, in a shopping center parking lot.

While the police officer was talking to the driver, Melanie Wensel, 24, of Spring Lake and investigating the incident, Wensel tried to drive off and the car then hit Deleon, officials said.

“It was during this interaction that the officer fired his duty weapon striking the driver of the car,” police said.

Deleon fired two shots at Wensel’s vehicle when it was at East Manchester Road near the Spring Lake Park.

The woman who was driving the vehicle was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center where she remains in stable condition.

Spring Lake Police said Wensel’s 5-year-old daughter was in the vehicle at the time of the shooting.

The girl was not injured in the incident and was later turned over to her father.

“The child’s in a safe location with the father. Officer Deleon hasn’t been interviewed yet so I can speak to what he knew at the time when he engaged Ms. Wensel,” Kimble said.

Deleon was transported to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center and later released. for evaluation and treatment of injuries.

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office and the State Bureau of Investigation are assisting the Spring Lake Police Department with the investigation.

Deleon has been with Spring Lake Police since November 2015 and will be on administrative duty while the SBI investigates.

Kimble said Wensel will likely face multiple charges once she’s released from the hospital.

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